Why Do Appraisers Need a College Degree?

Let me begin by stating that I hold both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree. I do not state that to get the adulations of the reader, but to qualify myself as one who can speak with at least a small degree of authority on this subject.  Let me also be fair in stating that I loathed school.  Do not misunderstand, I love and cherish education, I just hate school.  I am a lifelong learner.  I enjoy reading, researching, and experiencing new things.  I love furthering my education.  However, I am not one that fits very well into perfectly cut holes.  My biggest problem with the public educational system (primary, secondary, and post-graduate) was that much of what I ‘learned’ had nothing to do with my desired education, and some of what I DID had little to do with learning.  There were just too many hoops to jump through.  That is the biggest reason my wife and I homeschool our children.  We want to allow our kids to be self-directed in their preparation for life.

The philosophy of getting an education that actually has something to do with my future is one reason I am disgusted with the new rules requiring a two-year degree (or the equivalent) for a Licensed Appraiser and a Bachelor’s Degree (or the equivalent) for a Certified.  What do the degrees need to be in, one might ask?  Well . . .Underwater Basket-weaving, for all they care.  Believe it or not, it does not matter AT ALL what the degree topic is (other than a few, required courses)–it just matters that you have a degree.  Why?  That is the question of the century.

If I sound a little cynical, that is because I AM!!!!     Though I have asked many different individuals in many different (sometimes lofty) positions, I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer to this simple question.  The purpose for this requirement seems to be nothing more than to impose yet one more stumbling block to keep the number of appraisers to a minimum.  It is just one more arbitrary step that one must take before they can be crowned with the reward of being called an appraiser.  The best explanation I have heard is that “it gives our profession more credibility.”  Okay.  If you think forcing a group of people to squeeze through requirements that have nothing at all to do with the quality of their appraisal work gives more street-cred, then more power to ya.  Though let me ask you this: If your doctor had a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts, would you think that increased his credibility as a doctor?

I currently have an employee who has been working for me for the past 3 years.  She is an amazing person with incredible analytical skills that, frankly, make her a better appraiser, in many ways, than I am.  Though she is not a licensed appraiser yet, she has a desire to be one.  In fact, this has been a dream of hers since she was in high school.  For various reasons, she does not have a college degree.  A few college classes under her belt, yes, but no certificate.  Her plans were to get her Trainee’s license at the end of this year and be licensed by mid to late 2015.  Well, those plans are now up in the air.  Why?  All over a little rule-change that has really thrown a wrench into her career goals and life.

I am all for improving the industry.  The quality of appraisers as a whole is an issue.  If there are legitimate ways we can assist appraisers to become better, I am all ears.  If, however, our goal is simply to limit the progress of would-be appraisal business owners, I find this practice shortsighted,unfair and completely ridiculous. .  Tell me where I am wrong.

Now, go create some value!

Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner, but he has found most of his success as a self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and consultant. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth.   He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.


70 thoughts on “Why Do Appraisers Need a College Degree?”

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. After 30 years of on and off again college I finally got my AS degree in 12/2012 knowing I had to have it to obtain my CRA. Now , I just have to do the 50 hours and pass the final exam and present all my creds. At 68 years of age, this is no easy feat. I’m very grateful just to even have my SLA since I had to prove to the licensing board that my previous digressions with the law were not who I am anymore. Now, with all the new requirements I will barely squeak by …..still I am glad to have made it this far; however it does make me wonder if this is a deliberate attempt by the lending industry or ? to kill the appraisal profession. I’m happy that you are enough of a rebel to want to take on trainees, I want to train as well. With less appraisers currently nationwide and more work for everyone, more appraisers may be willing to train some newbies fresh out of college…should they find a willing aspirant….but even then, how do you convince someone to work for 2000 hours at less than a liveable wage and ensure they will still work with you even if they start their owny company when they get their license.? You know, I still work with the man who trained me even tho I have my own company as well. I realized that I did not want to leave him hanging since he was no longer capable of doing reports, but his 20 years of reputation could still draw in the orders…so it was beneficial to both of us.

    1. I hold 4 degrees with the highest being an MBA but the reason goes beyond what others think, in Florida the Courts only recognize a professional if the profession requires a college degree or the legislature deems it to be a professional. What this does is put the negligence statute at 2 years and the fraud at 4 in case your sued. Other than that I have seen some very good appraisers with a high school diploma and the right teaching. Many states define a professional as one in a profession requiring a degree. Remember Lawyers who have degrees write crappy laws so they can sue.

    2. Appraisers in general are punished for being appraisers. Our fees are halved and our turn times cut by a third because of the HVCC and the Frank Dodd Act. The proliferation of the AMC, coupled with college requirement, and the shrinking number of lenders allowing for Trainee signatures, will ultimately kill the appraisal profession. Couple this with all of the costs that come with running an appraisal office, and limitation to 3 trainee appraisers only makes the situation worse.

      Why bother becoming an appraiser? With all of the front loaded investment, coupled with the fact that the entire industry seems to be trying to put you out of business… whats the point?

      Appraisers are aging, and a new generation is not rising to replace them as they retire or pass away. Sooner or later, banks will be relying on Brokers for BPO Valuations and websites like Zillow.

    3. I’m like you in that I too enjoy education but not necessarily in a college environment. I was going to be a pilot and spent 3 years in various flight training schools. And yet, that counts for ‘nothing’ in the appraisal world. I always tell people to visit a college campus on a Friday or Saturday night and tell me whether or not you feel the activities going on are adding to a person being more responsible in their life. I’d say that the people who are avoided those situations are the ones you’d rather hire in the future as a professional.

      It’s too bad that the college degree requirement does not require relevant education. It couldn’t come at a worse time in our profession because it puts up roadblocks just when we could use more competent appraisers. We all realize that the typical college graduate with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt probably won’t choose appraising as an avocation.

      As an old-timer (25 yrs) I probably will benefit from the lack of new appraisers entering our profession. But I’d certainly never advocate for using government (or “quasi” in the case of the AF) interference to manipulate the market.

    4. Am I smart enough? As an appraiser since 1976 and owner of three appraisal companies in three states I was one of the first appraisers certified when USPAP was enacted. My three licenses expired during treatment for cancer. After winning the battle, I contacted the state licensing boards for restatement. Unfortunately, with the new licensing laws I was treated has if I was never licensed. The only credit I received was the time requirement for trainee. My biggest challenge was the lack of a college degree. Back in my day after graduating high school, you either went into the military or to college, if not college then to trade school. I decided to go into the military and let them pay for my trade school education in electronics. During my nine years of service, I completed over three years of advanced electronics. At that time in our country’s history, you did not include your public service as a veteran on your resume. The last thing veterans wanted was to go to college and pretend they were never in the military and listen to professors instruct us on that is wrong with our country. In my opinion, we have mixed up the purpose of going to trade school or college. I have heard it asked why we need go to college and learn basket weaving. As appraisers we know the answer to this…college today has become big business, nothing more. It’s not really about the needs of any profession. When I applied for reinstatement I updated all my appraisal courses, other assorted requirements such as sample reports, etc, and was allowed to take the test for certification, which I passed. Regarding the college requirements, I decided to take the required college courses mandated by USPAP at the time instead of completing the requirements for a degree. My background also includes co-owner of a real estate brokerage and Construction Company, Vice-President of a mortgage company and Regional Manager of the building department for an international bank. When I received my first book on Macroeconomics for college credit, I looked at it and threw it in the trash. I am now a real estate broker that knows how to justify a value. Am I bitter? You bet! Appraising can be an enjoyable trade and I would have been willing to double or triple the amount of appraisal courses required instead of going back to college. A college degree may be a highly regarded credential for employer-employee relationships, but does little for a self-employed entrepreneur that is willing to work hard with the freedoms afforded by our country into developing a business career that they and their families can be proud of, and to be recognized in their community as a Professional Appraiser.

    5. I too hold a 4 year degree which I earned over 20 years ago. I became a PA Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser in 2013. This new requirement is ridiculous but that’s government for you. If they powers that be really understood what we do and felt additional requirements were necessary it would include a period of real estate sales during the 2000 hours. A week spent w/ buyers is far more beneficial to understanding what we do than 2 years in a class room learning the theory of whatever floats your boat.

    6. Dustin Harris ~ well said… schooling does not necessarily make the man (or woman), and far too much emphasis is put upon schooling rather than training, education, sincerity, intent, honesty and wisdom! I’ve been at this game (with a degree in mechanical engineering) for 44 years now, and my greatest claims to fame in my opinion has been my faith, my family, honesty and wisdom I grew up learning from farming and my dad, along with working around other appraisers, buyers and sellers… but wisdom… to be able to tell the difference between right and wrong, being practical about the 4th approach to value, sitting on the curb and asking myself, what would somebody really pay for this property, and remembering to be honest and frank…
      Thank you for your opinion, your honesty and your sincerity, and I hope your associate reaches her goal!

  2. I agree. The degree should be relevant, but, in reality, there has to be a better way to differentiate between appraisers. Once you have your license or certification, you become part of the commodity. Lenders look for price and speed rather than quality, skills, etc.

  3. Sherry Cahill-Ervin

    I could not agree more with your thoughts on this matter. I do not have a college degree, and have been an appraiser for 29 years. I am well-respected in my area, and have built a very successful business. Several of the trainees I have had over the years also had no college. But, with the exception of one who is no longer an appraiser, were all very good at their jobs. This is just not fair to those of us, as you stated, who do not fit into that “box”. Now that I am approaching retirement age, I see a real shortage of appraisers on the horizon, and this law just adds to that. I have received inquiries from a number of men and women over the past couple of years, and the first thing I have to ask is about their college degree. It’s very discouraging to have to let them know that if they don’t have one yet their career plans will have to be delayed for a couple of years.

  4. The educational requirement is the appraisal industry shooting itself in the foot while at the same time attempting to limit access to the profession. In other words a glass ceiling to limit competition. While I have deep respect for knowledge, intellect, and wisdom, and a well rounded one as our institutions of higher education encourage, it is very counter-productive and actually keeps some extremely talented and important minds from advancing professionally. Most recently I’ve been in med school which has far less superfluous learning than an undergrad degree, but still does have a fair amount. I’ve seen many students throw up their hands in disgust and frustration when topics outside of their intended practice have stymied and ended their professional aspirations. Such is the case for many professions. The appraisal industry is simply another example. I will be called doctor soon at age 59. Despite having taken all courses requisite for an MAI, I have never entered commercial appraising due to the lack of a 4 year degree, which is ludicrous. Especially when I have 31+ years experience in appraising.

  5. I was in school getting my appraisal education when the college requirements were enacted. The instructor was asked why the college requirements were enacted. His response? Because the appraisers who already walked through the door want to shut it on everyone else. Mission accomplished.

  6. I hold a 4 year college deree in Business, with a minor in Human Relations. These degrees for the most part has helped my appraiser profession very little. What has helped is my drive to be the best appraiser I can be. Virginia requires 28 hours continuing education every two year cycle of your license. My last renewal in September I had 47 hours. I take appraisal courses I feel will help me. I also take all my courses in the classroom. Sitting with your piers is where you learn, not sittng at a computer by yourself just to get your hours. I read everything I can find. I have read most of Dodd-Frank regulations concerning appraisers, have you? We also home schoool our children. That way they get what is needed, not all these subject’s which are just filler material and cost lots of money. The requirement of a 4 year degree will hurt the appraisal profession in the long run, but at the same time I feel more pointed appraisal courses are needed.

  7. In Canada, it’s the appraiser associations versus the provincial regulators (since there is only 1 provincial regulator and that is in my province of Alberta), that determine minimum education standards. There’s 2 associations, one that follows a hybrid of the USPAP , and the other smaller one that follows the USPAP to the letter. I’m a member of the the smaller one, http://www.cnarea.ca. The other one recently instituted the requirement of a bachelor’s degree in “anything” in the last few years, to secure the certified appraiser designation. As a result, membership in our association is growing like a weed, in fact has doubled in the last five years, for the very reason of this minimum education requirement, and it will continue to grow. A degree not related to the chosen profession is interesting but does nothing to increase credibility. Courses that teach the mechanics of good appraising is what regulators should be looking for with minimum standards.

  8. P.S. If your kids think they’re brighter than you are, they’re right. After age 24+- the ability to learn peaks, after that the ability to learn begins to decline. By the time you get to 60 it’s really an uphill battle. The old gray neurons just don’t connect as fast as they used to. Us old folks don’t catch on as quick as the kids do. You should have seen my professors (MD’s and PhD’s) eyes glaze over when I tried to acquaint them with 6 functions.

  9. I love this topic. TY for the article. I have been an appraiser for 15 years, nearly 16. When this stipulation came into play I was devastated. I do not have any time of a degree. So to try to make it under the wire, I applied to the board to get certified. They gave me the ‘okay’. I neglected to take the test in the time period they allotted so I reapplied and then they said, “no, you need the degree”. I was extremely upset. First it was okay then not??! I think it is all BS. More and better appraisal courses are what is needed, not some BS college classes just so I can say I have a degree. I make more money now than I ever did so it has no hindered me to not be certified. As matter of fact, I review certified residential and general appraiser reports and some are hideous! So since they have accomplished that goal and have a degree does not make them good appraisers necessarily. I don’t mean that bad, only than I am no less of a good appraiser just because I do not have a degree but now am not allowed to go further. So I’m happy with what I do and do a good job and make a decent living. They will find out in the end that it will all get phased out and there will be a shortage of good appraisers because all the seasoned ones will be retired and the new ones will only be box checkers.

    1. I know this thread id old but…. How are you making good money? I was a trainee back in 2007. No degree needed at that time. Had to put on a back burner as I was about to be divorced, had four kids to take care of and was working my cleaning business to make the bills.
      I want to try again but don’t have the degree needed now. How will an English class help in appraisals lol.
      If you have been appraising for 15 years as a licensed residential ,you don’t need college. just 5 years a licensed residential . you can now get certified. I have been told that you can’t get your own work without being certified. at least from the Appraisal management companies. I would like to know what state you are in. Anyway, just trying to decide if its worth the effort at this point and having to wait 5 years to be certified , or figure a way to make money as only licensed as you are . Maybe some hope there. Any suggestions or ideas would be appreciated. And finding someone to train. The person that I worked with before has retired. Thanks

  10. I disagree. It really DOESN’T matter what you got that college degree in, the skills developed in the context of any college degree have a direct bearing on being a professional (as opposed to a “box checker”) appraiser: research, communication, literacy, spelling, reading, math (including geometry), meeting deadlines, learning how to support an argument (ie, value), how to market your business. . .the list is almost endless. And given the terrible spelling and writing skills of most high schoolers upon graduation, you may be surprised to find that a LOT of remedial work in this area takes place in the first year of college. Of course, if all you are is a box checker, if all you do is crank out more reports over any given time period than can be realistically considered credible and well thought out and researched, well, then, bu all means, keep the profession at that dismal level of competency.

    1. I would disagree with you Terri. I have been involved in the real estate profession for the past 28 years. Your assumption that a person without a degree is a box checker is offensive. I do not have a degree, however I have years of experience. I have never seen any evidence that a college degree makes a better appraiser. I have seen college graduates with masters degrees be box checkers. The very worst appraiser I ever dealt with was a tenured teacher. She was my trainee. I had to let her go because of her inability to take instructions (from me – a non-college educated box checker). A college education doesn’t make you a better appraiser. A college education doesn’t make you a professional.

    2. Terri, I have a college degree and more hours of post degree education than I can count. You make some valid points, however the last sentence is totally offensive to the many highly qualified and competent appraisers dedicated to the industry, many of whom do not hold a college degree. And, degree absolutely does make a difference, in this as in all other professions. As pointed out in the article, no sane person would go to a doctor who had a degree in “culinary arts”, nor do I want an accountant that holds a medical degree. Certainly, the ability to write and perform basic mathematical exercises may be enhanced while in college, but I have personally seen people with masters and doctorate degrees that can not write a comprehensible sentence. It appears to me that people who have not learned these basic skills in 12 years of schooling are not likely to do so with an additional two or four years of college. The fact that you hold a degree does not make you any better of an appraiser. The fact that you have shown a willingness to take extra steps to improve your abilities and work product does.

    3. I AGREE wtih Terri. A college education will only help the profession. And I see on the horizon colleges and universities offering courses that will relate to appraising/real estate. It is a wonderful first step.

    4. Terri, you’re very mistaken about college education / bachelors degree equates to better reading and writing skills. Where people learn the majority of their language skllls are from their parents. Children speak like their parents. The schools help to improve this. Most people think and write as they speak. Most of that comes in the first 7 years of life. After that, it’s built upon. My grade school and high school reading and writing classes were far more comprehensive than what I was exposed to in the university systems of Wisconsin and Illinois. How I learned to write appraisal reports was by being coached in the professional realm, especially by getting exposure to and guidance from the SRA’s and MAI’s. Mostly they helped with concept, occasionally with verbiage. BTW, long ago my Grandmother taught Shakespeare at Milliken University in Decatur Illinois. She was a fine teacher. Her reading and writing was impeccable. Her knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays was very impressive. But she did not have a college degree. It wasn’t required at that time. Only ability was required. One of my favorite examples of education in the wrong field is Alan Greenspan. Our former Head of the Fed was a piano major. I’ve also found that people who have made it past the glass ceiling will tend to defend it out of jealousy and to limit competition. Logic and ability has nothing to do with it.

    5. I agree with Terri. Most of the objections to the degree requirement here seem to come from those who don’t have one.

      A Bachelor’s degree is the culmination of cramming one year’s relevant courses into four. For my degree, Math 101 and 102 was a rehash of high school algebra and geometry courses. English 101 and 102 was also a rehash of HS. Some kind of course in the Arts was required for graduation, as were a couple of psychology courses.

      You’ll take many courses that you won’t even know you need–maybe not for several years. Public speaking and oral business communications are two that I’ve had occasion to draw upon. Basic psychology courses also come home to roost in the business world. Do they make you a better appraiser? Well, if you cannot communicate your appraisal methodology well, you might as well not have any. And if you don’t understand people’s basic motivations, you may miss the boat in defining the reasons for market behavior.

      With the advent of regression analysis on the scene, I’ve had an urge to return to school (at age 68) for a master’s degree in applied mathematics, because regression isn’t the only tool in the box. (It isn’t even the best one in many situations.) If you don’t have a degree, get one! There’s lots to learn, and it will all be useful someday–in one way or another.

  11. First of all I want to mention I to do have a degree that has nothing to do the appraisal profession that I have been in for 43 years. I am not sure who or why they came up with that the degree requirement but is goes along with the same type requirements that have been forced on the appraisal profession for years that have not enhanced the quality of individuals or their performance as an appraiser. I personally believe when licensing of appraisers became the law of land the appraisal profession took a setback in being a significant profession. I have reviewed appraisals from licensed appraisers that are doing appraisals that regardless of what USPAP requires are no more qualified to do than an unlicensed appraiser. Right now all over the country there are appraisals being completed for banks and other lending institutions that are not required to even use licensed appraisers. So what is the need for a license?.

    I know what i am about to say will upset a lot of people but when professional appraisals organizations lost their preeminence in the requirement of how an individual was accepted in the lending world the appraisal profession lost ground that will never be regained. When first starting in the appraisal profession in 1972 you would not even think about not joining a professional appraisal organization for education and oversight. There was nothing more terrifying that to go before your peers with an example of your work and let them for the most part expose your ignorance. Although this part of my appraisal education was the most trying it became to be the most beneficial. It made me prepared to be able to fully discuss and backup my opinion of value. As a matter of fact it took me longer to get my designation with the Appraisal Institute that it took me to get a degree. I mention the Appraisal Institute because that was my choice of education however there many other good appraisal organizations that offer good appraisal education and oversight.

    I say all this to say that if you are going to have an education requirement then have it with appraisal organization that offers education and oversight. I have mentioned oversight many times because I believe no matter how good the education without oversight your education is not challenged . The main point of oversight should not be from a punitive point of view but from a continuing education enhancement. This type of oversight can possibly prevent future punitive measures and therefore enhance the appraisal profession by letting the lending world know that you allow your work and ethics be exposed to your peers.

    This opinion I known for the most part was just a waste of my time for writing it and your time for reading it
    from a standpoint of does it really matter. Politics for the most part has always dictated what is required in who and how an appraisal is to be performed but unless we relent completely as a profession they cannot dictate to us our ethics.

    Mike Haynes

  12. I’ve been an appraiser for 25 years ,taught all the RE classes in a local college and went on to manage appraisers and compliance. When you look at still having the need of two years of apprenticeship plus paying off the expenses of a college tuition, the basic math does not add up to lack of the rewards or income of appraising. That is the death blow to the profession as we knew it as there is no new blood entering and within 3-5 years, there wont be enough appraiser to handle the volume needed to have a viable means of “boots on the ground” valuation. The 60% decline in business this next year will weed out a lot of appraisers and the next wave of business may be met by using newer valuation tools. Either learn about how to drive interactive valuation tools, regression and other types of reporting or you may be slowly drying up on the vine that fed us for so long.

  13. The criteria of getting a degree in some other profession than the one you have chosen is a little bizarre. I choose real estate as a profession at a very early age … about 35 years ago. It is not logical to get degree in one thing in order to get a license in another… and for profession to be illogical is just dumb.

  14. I have been an appraiser for almost 16 years (currently residential certified) , and I am working towards my General Certification – I have the hours, just waiting to take Advanced Income Cap class as “test prep”. I have been self-employed since I was 15, and during a long stretch in the 80’s was making over $250K/year running a graphic design/marketing/photography firm. I was working towards a degree when one of the partners in my firm suddenly left and embezzled a good deal of funds, leaving me scrambling and having to devote full-time to the firm and stopping my planned education. I eventually had to close the doors and look for other ways to survive. Since then, it’s been nearly impossible to find the time to devote to studies of anything outside of work, especially when I was fortunate enough to get in with a very active and well-established appraisal firm. They keep me very busy and I occasionally get some jobs on my own. Working 7 days a week does not exactly allow me time to drive an hour one-way to go sit in a class 2-3 times a week. It’s just not feasible. There need to be exceptions on a case-by-case basis for this mandate.

  15. I agree. Even though I have a bachelors degree, I think this requirement is over the top. Like your employee, my daughter had the same plans. She works with me and has taken all of the classes required by the OREA for her trainees license but now is discouraged by the fact that she needs a four year degree to be certified, which is really what you need to make it in this profession. She would like to go to college, but she has three children and work is a necessity. As a result, her time is limited. My advise to her, take classes that would transfer over to some other profession. I think that the requirements that were previously in place to meet the OREA certification requires were enough. At that point it still required 2.5 or more years to qualify for the exam. Holding a bachelors degree is not going to make this profession more credible, just harder to get in to. Ethical appraisers and others in the real estate and lending profession who take pride their work, their career, and their business are what is going to make this profession more credible.

  16. Having a degree maybe shows commitment to something. There were many appraisers in the business a few years back that just got into the business because there were few barriers to entry and they could make an easy buck. Many didn’t belong in the business and many of them are no longer in the business.

  17. I will never discount my college degree, no matter what my career is or will be. Want to be a lawyer, doctor ? Forget college, just go on to Law School, Medical School. Want to be a CPA, engineer, nurse? Forget college, just pass the exam. Want to be a real estate appraiser? Pull the prize (certificate) out of a Crackerjack box. Since your degrees apparently don’t have much value (appraisal term) to you, disavow and return them to the universities from which they were conferred. According to your article, there should be no difference how you will be perceived in the appraisal profession. Or is it industry?

  18. I feel the mandate should be repealed. at least to the licene level certified and above ok. MAI certifications already have the qualification requirement and that should work fine for those who need an appraiser with the required degree.
    this currently limits the number of apppraisers, funny STEVE JOBS could not qualify to be an appraiser.

  19. The question I have is why are appraisers the only profession in our industry that is to now require this degree? RE Agents don’t have to have them. LO’s don’t have to have them. Who does? And with no programs (anywhere that I know of) to provide education in our profession, or even any significant aspect of it, what does this accomplish beyond what has already been stated in this thread (reduce the number of appraisers in the profession). I also have a degree (in film production, of all things- guess it helps me take better report photos), but do not see that it has helped me or will help anyone (of the few and dwindling numbers of appraisers) do this job better. This requirement, coming on the heels of HVCC (devolving to Dodd Frank), AMCs (reducing fees for all) results in raising the bar to enter a profession with diminishing returns. Seems to me just what the lenders/finance institutions can eventually build a case out of that there are not enough appraisers, so the step in the process needs to be eliminated “for the good of the economy”- the few of us left will be “limiting growth”, and we are certainly not too big to fail as a profession. A sad state of affairs.

  20. Applauds! Applauds! Could not agree with your analysis more. Having a degree with no analytical aptitude does not make for a good appraiser. Do no get me wrong. I am all about education, but one needs the right education to appraise and i.e. do quality work as an appraiser. The industry should be open to getting quality persons to do quality work and not adding a layer under the guise of it adding to the profession alone.

  21. With 30 years as a residential appraiser, my degrees in marketing and master degree in business have not resulted in me being a better or more qualified appraiser. If I were looking to start or change careers, I would not choose today’s appraisal profession. It takes too long to become licensed/certified and the requirements of a college degree are absurd. Finally, all my degrees have not result in higher fees or more clients.

  22. I like a degree in elementary ed. With a major in Jack N Jill.
    Seriously, as much as I feel this is an asinine requirement without certain required courses, having a degree does prove a certain amount of dedication and the ability to learn. That said, some appropriate course work should be required.

  23. Silvio A. Cnquino

    Whether right or wrong, it is about credibility and perception. As the appraisal industry as evolved from a no rules industry to what it is today, the industry seeks credibility. So like many other industries that require higher education, so the appraisal industry goes as well; in search of perceived credibility. Take the mortgage industry, for example. Prior to the great recession, the requirements to be a mortgage representative were minimal, used car salesman yesterday, mortgage representative today. Thus it could be perceived that the mortgage industry lacked credibility; though some of the most intelligent and knowledgeable individuals I know are mortgage reps. Since the great recession, the enactment of licensing and educational requirements have been imposed in order to bring more credibility and accountability to that industry.

    Perhaps an unintended consequence, the thinning of the appraiser herd may help increase appraiser rates. With less of us out there, the hope is that it will translate to higher rates for those appraisers that remain. A recent article in an industry trade magazine stated that a management company owner has not found any lesser quality appraisals as a result of lesser rates paid; therefore, the work is given to appraisers accepting the least rate. Since many of us are sole owner/operators, someone will take the work with the mantra that something is better than nothing or the volume of work will make up for lesser rate. How many of us are getting “blast” emails for an appraisal order. Further, with the latest refi boom now in the past, will there be less work out there? With low fees, increased education, and time required to become an appraiser, one thing is for sure, we are becoming an older industry. Best wishes to all appraisers out there in what seems a challenging year ahead; and I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

  24. It used to be that you could be an engineer or an attorney without a college degree, just pass the test and put in the time, working under someone else and you were good to go. Those professions closed their doors some 10+ plus years ago. From that standpoint it doesn’t surprise me that this industry would do the same. As someone without any degrees and holding a state certification should be viewed equally to a degree but sadly I have to say that it is not the case.

    I have looked into many different programs available. I have found that with more than 7 years business experience (I have 28+) a can enroll in an executive MBA program that meets every other weekend, all day Friday and all day Saturday, for 2 years. The cost can be pricey but I noticed that the state universities are now offering these programs as well.

  25. I totally agree with this article and can’t see that the degree requirement has done the appraisal profession a bit of good. Oh, if you have a degree, then that is supposed to make you a better appraiser? Aren’t the politicians in Washington all degreed people, mostly lawyers, and where has that gotten us. The point is that if you are a good appraiser it is because you value your profession and will do just about anything to make sure you remain in good standing. The crooks are out there and will be until the end of time but that doesn’t mean everyone is a crook.

  26. Wow- this seems to be quite the hot topic. Dustin, I couldn’t agree with you more. No one has ever been able to answer the question with any satisfaction as to why a Bachelor’s degree somehow makes a better appraiser.

    At this point in my life, I am no longer embarrassed to admit that I do not hold any post secondary education degrees. While it was a dream of mine to attend college, due to many circumstances of which are unimportant at this juncture, I never did. In fact, I do not even have a “real” high school diploma- however, I did get my GED. This was not due to a lack of desire or even a lack of intelligence, as some used to assume. It has taken an unbelievable amount of effort, opportunity, obstacles and sheer determination to overcome the stigma often associated with trying to succeed in a world that puts so much emphasis on having a diploma.

    Don’t misread what I’m saying- there is definitely something to be said for having given your life over to 2, 4 or more years of study to achieve your career goals- if that is what it takes to get there. I have a lot of respect for those who choose that path and succeed. But that is not the only way to succeed in life. It was only about 2 years ago that I had a son receive a full ride ROTC scholarship for aeronautical engineering. After 1 semester of college, he clearly understood that as gifted and blessed as he was to receive such an amazing opportunity, it was not the path God intended for his life. He is now in the US Air Force as a load master on a C17 and is more convinced he did the right thing- despite many who were quite displeased with his decision and tried to persuade him to stick with the scholarship.

    With all that being said, the “higher ups” in this industry are placing emphasis on holding a degree of any kind as the way to improve the quality of appraisers. Unfortunately, this thinking is misguided. Education is a great thing and should be emphasized not only to qualify for the career of an appraiser, but to continue periodically with set requirements as it is now. However, if they want to improve the quality of the profession, this education should be directed to increasing the knowledge based on the profession and relevant information to appraising. If my son had continued in his studies and achieved a bachelor degree in aeronautical engineering, he would have been technically more qualified than myself to become an appraiser. I’d like for someone to explain to me how choosing comparables has anything to do with knowing how to design things that fly?

  27. Kevin C. Redden

    At last, someone is asking some serious questions. When I read that a degree in underwater basket weaving was the only requirement, I thought. Good! Something easy to do, and I can make it, in 3 years..

    In all due seriousness I find this requirement to be an amazing ‘shot in the foot’ for the industry. Firstly lets go though the requirements now.

    * Class work to get your license
    * 2 years apprenticeship
    * 2,500 hours of appraisal work
    * 1/2 pay
    * Oh how could I forget. Not ONE lender wants a trainee to even look at the house your appraising, much less let you sign an appraisal. (and if they catch you actually doing an appraisal, even if you didn’t sign it. Then all hell breaks loose.)
    * THEN if you do all that, you have to have a test that is as hard to pass as a medical degree.

    Now – here comes the fun part.

    All that, above. Then a 4y collage degree. Which gives you what? $20,30,40,000 in debt.

    Then you have to do all the above.

    OK, explain to me how this is going to make more appraisers?

    You don’t see TV shows glamorizing appraisers like “House, RE Appraiser” or CSI; RE Appraising, or even something as stupid as ‘Honey Boo-Boo, Commercial Appraiser.” What 20 year old wants to become a RE appraiser, when being a lawyer or doctor brings in more money, and have the glam and notoriety.

    What will this new requirement do?

    #1 Lenders want their appraisals in 2 days, sometimes less.
    #2 Lenders want cheap appraisals $300? Too much! Can you do it for $150? – Are you kidding me?

    What is see, is the remaining appraisers, will charge what they want, and their TAT will be 1, 2 maybe even 3 /weeks/ IF their lucky. For we’ll be so flooded with appraisals (and Freddie/Fannie requires appraisals, not BPOs) that appraisers will have no choice.

    The long term future; Either the entire appraisal industry will collapse, or super lenders like BofA, or JPMorganChase will tell congress and Freddie/Fannie in no uncertain terms, “we will not use appraisers, and you can sit on your finger and spin for all we care. Our profits are more important, than the country.” So they will abandon us, and we’ll be out of a job.

    Either way, I see nothing but bad for the appraisal industry if they keep going this way. I’m going and get my certification, but honestly unless something radically changes, I see no future in the business. Why I’m also going for other service licenses in the future.

    Congrats, to the people who keeps making the bottleneck. Your slowly choking yourselves out of business.

    Kevin C. Redden

    1. That was a great reply Kevin…. it really state how silly this mandate is! I was ready and able to to start my training last month, but learned about the degree requirement and was very disappointed. It will slam the door on many qualified folks. Oh well! Our gov’t always makes sense if enough money is thrown one way or another… I cant believe this actually passed!


  28. I feel the same way as you Dustin. I have been appraising for over 35 years and do not have a college degree. I have more college classes under by belt than you can believe, but no degree yet. I also do not plan on getting one at this point in life. A degree does not make a great appraiser! I also believe in bringing new appraisers into the business, and have trained a number of them over the years. But under the new guidelines, I just cannot afford to make them an employee and pay taxes, insurance, etc. It’s a shame what the guidelines have done to our business. First from the government and then the Institute. 90% of us are “old” and when we’re gone, who will train the new appraisers. I love this business and what I do, but its not as “fun” anymore.

  29. We are the reason for our own undoing. And AI serves no purpose to Appraisers. I have sent emails and left comments on their site, asking where they stand on certain issues. I have not gotten one response from AI. We are not recognized because we don’t recognize ourselves. There is nothing that unifies our voice and until we have that, we will be crushed!

  30. Thank you – thank you! I am a Certified Residential appraiser, and have been in this industry for over 20 years. Per my clients, I am very good at what I do, and they trust my work and my assigned values. I do not have a college degree. That in no way takes away from my experience, expertise, and professionalism! Thankfully, I got my AR designation before the rules changed, but just under the wire – I was sweating it! I have been a FHA approved appraiser most of those 20 years, and without my AR, I would not be able to do FHA appraisals, which is a huge bulk of my business. Again, my lack of a college degree has nothing to do with my ability to do my job. My brother, who is my partner and a licensed appraiser, also does not have a degree, so he gets very few assignments of his own and, although he assists me with the FHA inspections, cannot be FHA approved. He also has all the expertise because I have taught him and he assists me with about 95% of my appraisal assignments (and is given credit in each report), so he has more knowledge of FHA appraisal requirements than many newer appraisers with degrees. It is unfair and arbitrary, and I strongly believe that requirement should be rescinded. If the person can accumulate all the necessary, industry-pertinent education, and can pass the grueling state exams for the different levels, why can’t they be rewarded with the appropriate designation?

  31. I totally agree with what you said. The appraisal institute lobbied hard to convince our law makers that certified appraisers should only be allowed to do FHA work.. the result was a windfall for the appraisal institute and many other course providers who cashed in on all the appraisers scrambling to upgrade their licenses.

  32. Once again Dustin YOUR OPINION DOES NOT MATTER, it is what it is.

    I’m guessing all the appraisers that spent more than one minute on this blog didnt “create any value”.

  33. ATom Levi, MAI, SRA

    THERE AREN’T TO FEW APPRAISERS, THERE ARE STILL TO MANY! There are to many appraisers because of the low standards initially set for licensing, this is what the ABA and NAR wanted, remember the argument that there would not be enough appraisers when licensing first began. That argument is now being heard again.

    The AMC’s are crying because they are just starting to having trouble finding an adequate supply of morons to exploit, not to mention finding actual competent appraisers, which is what their clients say they want. They are also looking into the future and do not like their business model of exploitation to be upset.

    Please remember that the low fees of today are a direct result of EXCESS COMPETITION (to many appraisers). In 1991-92 there were 60,000-70,000 appraisers nationally, that is all that is needed now, if that. Today the count stands at 101,600. There is still a substantial way to go for equilibrium.

    Most “appraisers” today, who never heard of appraising before licensing, were sanctioned by the government (got some form of license) when the standards only required they have a pulse and be able to lie (experience claims were not verified). These people never heard of appraising until licensing. Licensing opened the door to the unqualified, uneducated, unethical, get-rich-quick, uncaring, unethical and unpatriotic (most loans have government backing in one form or another). Many realized the bar was set so low they could immediately qualify by lying without getting caught. This was, some say, the unintended ( I say it was intended) consequence of to low of a bar.

    It seems only right that when dealing with the largest purchase most people will make in their lifetimes that the individual appraiser be educated. The core education requirements in 2015 are a start. A college degree shows they were capable of learning.

    Prior to applying to be declared an appraiser by the government most of these “appraisers” had not appraised a day in their life. The test they took was a joke – people took it five or more times before “passing”. Most “sanctioned” appraisers today, they are a legacy of the low standards, consider this industry an avocation, not even a vocation, let alone a profession. In their chimp-like poop-flinging frenzy to bid for the lowest fee they cause all sorts of problems.

    In 1991-1992 the fee for a standard SFR was $325-350, it is the same or less today. The fees to appraiser’s should be at least double what they are. Fees have not increased in over 20-25 years. However, the liability of an appraiser, cost of licensing, cost of doing business (fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.) and reporting requirements (more time per assignment) have dramatically increased. Some efficiencies have helped, e.g. electronic delivery and electronic photographs, but not anywhere nearly enough to offset expenses and additional time requirement. And let us not forget inflation in general over the last 20-25 years. Appraisal fees have gone backwards. Fees offered today by AMC’s are what they were 25-30 years ago. The AMC’s, banks and mortgage brokers consider an appraiser to be a speed bump and they believe the appraiser deserves as little money as possible because the appraiser makes their life more difficult.

    Trainees!…I don’t want no stinking trainees! I’ll never “train” someone again, unless I’m paid, in cash, $250+/day to do so. A “TRAINEE” must be an EMPLOYEE (because by Federal law they require supervision and are not professionally licensed) and therefor must be paid your state’s minimum wage, plus all the expenses (workman’s comp. insurance, additional bookkeeping, fed. and state contributions by employer, overtime for 40+ hours, additional E&O, etc.) thus raising your cost to a minimum $15-20+/hr, and depriving you of your production time. Not to mention the liability issues and trust me, they are real. Treat the trainee as an IC and you will most likely be sued by your state and then the Feds. for misclassification when the trainee files for unemployment or work related injury or some other grievance. You will then loose anything you own to pay the back taxes, wages, penalties, interest and professional fees of the CPA and attorney you hire to defend you. Happy bankruptcy! Oh yea, I forgot, you can’t bankrupt out of owing taxes!

    Most “appraisers” who are sanctioned by the government today are nothing but puking, evil-flying, work out of my garage, data sources?… I don’t need no stinking data sources! – I get my data from the broker, low fee chasing, get-it-done-quick, what the hell are ethics, I’ll over look problems with the property, tell-me-the-value-you-want, cannot write, uneducated, take the cheapest class I can find (they get what they pay for), form filling, brain damaged monkeys.

    I propose that all government sanctioned “appraisers” be required to meet the 2015 educational standards by 2018 or loose their license.

    My comment addresses the profession in general. But since someone reading this may say there weren’t any qualifications for you to become an appraiser, you old fart (I’m 63), consider these facts: while I was finishing my two year college degree (in my early 20’s) in business/real estate, I earned my RE Salesman license and then my brokers license, all while working. I took advanced fortnight classes from the AIREA (now the AI) towards eventually earning two professional designations, one at 30 (RM) and the other at the age 33 (MAI). I choose this profession rather than came to it after multiple failed jobs (like being a teacher with to may mouths to feed) like so many. When the Institute in the early 1990’s required a four year degree for new members I went back to college in my 40’s and earned my four year degree.

    On second thought maybe the ones who want “more” appraisers and think that the standards are now “to high” are right…perhaps the world does want/need more uneducated, non-credentialed, poorly trained, “accommodating” individuals who will work for peanuts like the monkeys they are. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it unfolds.

  34. My first appraisal course was taken at age 20 in 1958. It was an elective course precedent to taking a broker’s license exam. I became interested in pursuing an appraisal career as a result. My first instructor was an MAI and informed his class that in order to become a recognized “professional” any appraiser worth their salt must also become an MAI. He also informed the class that in order to be awarded the designation, you must be at least 30 years of age. I thought that peculiar since it was possible to become a brain surgeon at a much younger age. Nonetheless, I pursued the designation and progressed from a S&L staff appraiser to an appraisal supervisor, with a national appraiser company, to an owner of my own appraisal firm by 1962.
    The (original) American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers, (now) the Appraisal Institute, saw the error of this ridiculous age requirement and eliminated it.
    I went to night school while building my appraisal business and staff of appraisers and finally earned an Associate BA degree, with over half my courses in real estate related subjects.
    I didn’t obtain my MAI designation until shortly after my 30th birthday but by that time had built one of the most successful appraisal businesses in Chicago and became one of the most sought after appraisal witnesses in Cook and surrounding counties. With the advent of appraiser licensing, more people came into the appraisal field–leaving what were personally less attractive and financial rewarding jobs. I hired and trained many aspiring appraisers, both with and without college degrees, and can state with experience that a college degree is no guarantee to production of a competent and ethical appraiser. At the height of my 56 year appraisal career, I had a staff of about 18 persons, with 15 staff appraisers, and gross business income that ranged from $1+ to $2+ million dollars. I am semi-retired today serving as a consultant and occasional expert witness to my sons. My net worth is in 8 numbers (in front of the decimal) and I have never found that a college degree was any assurance of success in the appraisal profession. So much for the superfluous college degree requirement!

  35. I agree that a college degree is not related with appraising abilities. (I hold BS and MBA) However, I do think there is merit in asking for college degree. While it doesn’t proves what you know, it proves that you have jumped through hoops (which the Fannie and other agencies constantly asking appraisers do). It proves that you have learned the system of learning (their way, not your own).
    It is the same reason why corporates require degree for certain job positions. It is not a perfect system, but it is something. I am sure there are many talented people without college degree can do a better job than some of those with college degree, but how could people know? It’s all about easy proof on their part. Remember that part of the appraiser’s job is to ensure the public that we “can” do a fair job. Superficial? maybe. But what would you propose to be the equivalent for experience on dealing with bureaucracy, unreasonable demands, rules after rules that change all the time?
    I homeschooled my own kids too for the same reason, however, you do send them to college for “main streaming” for the hack of the experience.

  36. Am I smart enough? As an appraiser since 1976 and owner of three appraisal companies in three states I was one of the first appraisers certified when USPAP was enacted. My three licenses expired during treatment for cancer. After winning the battle, I contacted the state licensing boards for restatement. Unfortunately, with the new licensing laws I was treated has if I was never licensed. The only credit I received was the time requirement for trainee. My biggest challenge was the lack of a college degree. Back in my day after graduating high school, you either went into the military or to college, if not college then to trade school. I decided to go into the military and let them pay for my trade school education in electronics. During my nine years of service, I completed over three years of advanced electronics. At that time in our country’s history, you did not include your public service as a veteran on your resume. The last thing most veterans wanted was to go to college and pretend they were never in the military and listen to professors instruct us on what was wrong with our country. In my opinion, we have mixed up the purpose of going to trade school or college. I have heard it asked why we need go to college and learn basket weaving. As appraisers we know the answer to this…college today has become big business, nothing more. It’s not really about the needs of any profession. When I applied for reinstatement I updated all my appraisal courses, other assorted requirements such as sample reports, etc, and was allowed to take the test for certification, which I passed. Regarding the college requirements, I decided to take the required college courses mandated by USPAP at the time instead of completing the requirements for a degree. My background also includes co-owner of a real estate brokerage and Construction Company, Vice-President of a mortgage company and Regional Manager of the building department for an international bank. When I received my first book on Macroeconomics for my appraisal licensing college credit, I looked at it and threw it in the trash. I am now a real estate broker that knows how to justify a value. Am I bitter? You bet! Appraising can be an enjoyable trade and I would have been willing to double or triple the amount of appraisal courses required instead of going back to college and taking whatever nonessential classes. A college degree may be a highly regarded credential for an employer-employee relationship, but does little for self-employed entrepreneurs that are willing to work hard with the freedoms afforded by our country into developing a business career that they and their families can be proud of, and to be recognized in their community as a Professional Appraiser. And for those appraisers that think there are already too many appraisers…get a grip on capitalism.

  37. Very interesting post. I work with my husband, who is a licensed appraiser. I am not. He does not have college degree, but does have 25 years experience in Real Estate Development and Property management and ten years as an appraiser. I have a Masters in Applied Psychology, a 21-year career in direct-service and administrative contract work, and no interest in appraising. He is an excellent appraiser; I am quite happy doing the things in our (seven employee) company that don’t need to be done by the licensed person. Yet according to these changes, I can become a licensed appraiser, and he (if he were starting today) could not. I’ve seen the same thing with counseling licensure – when a profession wants to gain credibility, they impose requirements, which get upgraded by each generation to make it harder for the ones following. I have half a dozen certifications and licensures (MS, LPC, LCAS, CCS, NCC, MAC), but left the field because the compensation rates were dropping even as the paperwork requirements were increasing. And now the same thing is happening in appraisal work!

  38. Ken MacDonough SRA

    Hi, Get your head out of the weeds. One more impediment to appraisers. The Banks want to use AVM’s to determine value. When there are too few Certified Appraisers to handle the work load, they will have their opportunity to shift the work to AVM’s. Then, the party is over for residential mortgage appraisers. Banks Rule.

    1. BINGO !!! The correct answer. We are all obsolete. Valuations of the future I can see will easily be a spreadsheet completed by a data analyst who works for the lender. Around $24,000 a year. In fact, most of the articles I have read that are not appraisal related all point to a diminsihed return for a Bachelors. An Associates is a better choice as noted by IndeedJob.com and several well regarded publications. Even better is a certificate in some type of operating systems or IT. Infromation technology, with certain certificates, will get you a $100,000 + gig with the gov’t.

      No, the shelf life on this profession is short. As the writer indicated, all the banks need is a reason to use cheaper labor. Of course, their margins will stay the same. The only good thing I see come out of this is that without appraisers there will be no need for AMC’s. We’ll be gone and so will they.

  39. Bill Burrows, MAI

    I was once told having an MAI was a license to steal. I took it as a compliment. Some people obtain a college education and degree because they believe it is important for their personal development, their life, and not only their work. I know many people with undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees who never succeeded in passing the MAI comprehensive exam or demonstration report requirements, etc. I frequently dwell on the notion of why one would even start on such a difficult journey with insufficient intent of finishing. I also know MAI’s who are former engineers, rocket scientists, pilots, teachers, etc. Education and training are important and come about in various ways. Education, degrees, and designations are forms of accomplishment by people with dedication and desire who seek achievement. Maybe recognized as such and maybe not. Sometimes they come at great sacrifice. The individual needs to decide if the benefit of sacrifice is satisfaction enough. Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. And, if not, my advice would be don’t even start. Just do something else. Most fields of any consequence require formal education. This has always been the case and frequently seemingly stupid. However, many people have persevered nonetheless. However, most people would flee in horror if their doctor never took CE. Most people won’t go to a doctor who went to medical school in Grenada. Airlines require their pilots to have a BA, which was not always the case. Is anyone who travels by air complaining. The military requires officers to have a BA. Many military pilots are actually engineers. Appraisers who think too much is asked of them professionally should look at what it takes to be a journeyman HVAC tech. By comparison, they will feel better of what is required of them to participate in the acquisition process for “the largest purchase…” as opposed to simply working on the boiler. From the looks of much of the writing associated with many of these posts, there appears to be a requirement out there among us for more education. Unfortunately, higher education is only now being recognized for the evil racket it has become over the last 30 years run by euphoric liberals. We should be much less concerned with big oil profits, for example, and much more concerned about big ed. profits and the corrupt, radical, politically correct, leftist, fascists running it unquestioned, unimpeded, unfettered, untended, un…..un…… and how it is keeping people from being able to reasonably afford college as an option for upward mobility.

  40. There is more value to an Associates Degree in Real Estate for an appraiser than there is for a BBA. I have both and a graduate degree. I have taught Real Estate Principles and Real Estate Appraisal at the college level for five years. A BBA never exposes you to property rights, home owner’s associations, regulations of municipalities for zoning, permits, and variances. Ask someone with a BBA what USPAP or UAD has meant to the appraisal field. I always took my classes down to the Assessor’s and Recorder’s office for a hands on experience………this is where our information comes from…..is it 100% accurate…….not necessarily, but being exposed to the process can help one figure out the discrepancies we often encounter in appraisal work. When the new testing began several years ago and many states turned it over to a national firm, it was not about testing for knowledge, it was about how much money could be made by having so many people fail the test and having to pay again for retesting. They included questions for residential appraisers that were relevent for commercial work but not for single family work. The result was that many people had to take the test several times which became a cash cow for the national testing firm. It was not in the best interest of the appraisal field but no one cared enough to fight the system. It often seems like we are a more back biting group than one of support and commeraderie. Our changes need to come from within our ranks and we should be spending our monies on lobbiests.

  41. Quite a mixed bag of opinions and insights here, and I appreciate the varied perspectives. I considered posting my initial “gut” response, but instead I’m printing the entire thread to read and review this weekend. Once I’ve done that, I might have more to say!

  42. A college degree demonstrates a “stick to it” attitude; that someone has the initiative and the drive to complete an often lengthy task that likley has little direct relationship to what they are actually doing. Does it automaticaly mean success, smarts, superior intellegence….of course not. But it is a bullet in the magazine of skills – not the magic one but one. Requirements for internships, industry courses, experience and ancillary education cannot hurt.

    Consider the alternative, do you want to be in the same pool as agents? I posted an article contrasting the differences between the requirements for appraisers and agents on Inman News. There are states in which you can become a managing broker with a GED, required classes and NO actual body of completed work – just keep your license “active” (or pay your money). Doing both full time since ’89 leaves zero debate in my mind as to who I’m more comfortable with….http://www.inman.com/2014/02/11/appraiser-wonders-why-its-so-easy-to-become-a-real-estate-agent/

  43. It is not surprising that people without college degrees are offended at the idea that a degreed appraiser may be preferable to a non-degreed appraiser. Personally, I have a B.S. in Management and an MBA. Out of college I worked for an MAI and easily became very competent at appraising. In fact, many appraisal concepts are taught in business school curriculums; accounting, finance, statistics, decision models, marketing, pricing, benchmarking, computers, programming, etc. College degrees in “unrelated” areas of study are not as helpful, in my opinion – by definition they are certainly less relevant. But to you appraisers who think regression analysis and spreadsheet modeling are new, you really are way behind the curve – I was learning about that in the early 1980’s.

    I hope the degree requirement sticks, because I believe that when the whining finally stops, the industry will indeed benefit from increased numbers of highly educated people who can apply the skills they have learned to increase their efficiency in creating more credible and accurate valuation products.

    One final observation: if real estate sellers often benefit from the uncertainty in their markets, do they really want more accurate valuations for all to see ?

  44. How many young people (under the age of 24) attend college with the aspirations of being an appraiser when they graduate with a 4 year degree?

    1. The Appraiser Coach

      Truth, I do not have statistics to back up my answer, but I would assume the numbers are quite low. Rather, many want to become appraisers and then, oh wait…. You mean, I need a college degree as well?

      1. I am currently 46 and was recently afforded the option to change careers due to layoffs and the fact I am exhausted with corporate America. I’ve always had an interest in real estate appraisal and thought this would be a perfect time to explore the option ( I can afford to make peanuts for a couple of years in order to manage my own schedule pursue industry related side projects). The college degree requirement has shut the door on that opportunity. A little background on myself; attended college for 2 years before being deployed to Desert Storm for a year and a half, circumstances of real life prevented me from re-enrolling upon return to complete my degree. So i joined the workforce; construction industry for 8 years then the IT world for the following 15. I pursued my education through industry certifications and self study instead of the college route (currently hold an MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, MSDBA to name a few). I am a senior level engineer with the ability program in various languages and databases who can actual write the freaking programs you use to calculate your estimates. I also freelance design with autocad and sketchup (generally landscaping and residential add-ons). With this being said, I am sadly not educated enough to enter your field. I have two boys (24 – 26), both with bachelors (that i paid for), neither with the sense god gave an onion that are (of course, i haven’t met but a handful of kids under the age of 25 that are anything but useless…. thankfully they grow out of it) . Good luck with your industry, I will have to find a different path to travel since the road blocks are in place.


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  46. I am wanting to become a real estate appraiser. I have my associates degree & am on track to get my bachelors.
    what major do you suggest going for? &/or classes to take?

  47. I just came across this article while trying to figure out why I need a Bachelor’s degree in ANYTHING that may, or may not, have anything to do with appraising real estate. I feel like I could’ve written this!! I’m presently jumping through all the hoops, but fail to understand why a Bachelor’s degree in say, basket weaving, has anything to do with home valuation. By most accounts, enrollment in the profession is down 20% in the last few years. Some of this is due to aging out. I feel strongly that most of this is due to the education requirements that have ZERO to do with appraising. Something needs to change!

  48. I couldn’t agree more Kristen. After spending the the last 20+ years in residential, commercial, and industrial construction management, I was looking for a fall back for “retirement” as I hate the idea of not working. I was looking at becoming a certified home inspector and appraiser when I saw this pointless and obtuse requirement. I mean really, I’ve spent years building houses, factories, and businesses all over the country, but I need to go back to college and finish a BA (currently hold an AA in business management). They are saying I need to go spend another $60,000 to turn around and make $50,000…..LOL!…..and that’s the average salary for an appraiser in my area anyway. It seems to me that the only thing a BA helps you with these days is waiting tables as I know plenty of kids coming out of college that can’t find a job because they have no ACTUAL skills. I have relatives that have masters degrees in mathematics that don’t make half of what I do because they’re managing video stores. Aside from training on the procedures, forms, possibly formulas and sifting through the relevant information any “higher” education is irrelevant. Sounds to me like a trick they tried to use to regulate the number of plumbers and electricians years ago. They required them to apprentice with an existing licensed journeyman/professional. All this did was give control over the job market and cut competition to the existing companies. Sounds exactly like what they are trying to do here…..Until they create another void of qualified candidates for the jobs available much like the construction industry today.

    Oh well, I’ll just be a certified home inspector which doesn’t even require licensing in 20 states (or any “higher” education) and makes the same, if not more, money than appraisers according to what I’ve seen online.

  49. Pingback: AQB proposes new appraisal qualification requirements

  50. Pingback: Do You Need a College Degree to be a Real Estate Appraiser?

  51. This requirement makes no sense to me. I appraised both commercial and residential for 15 years yet can’t be certified beyond trainee license due to only completing high school. To me that experience far outweighs a bachelors in whatever field I choose. I was training/teaching people that moved higher than me due to having a bachelors in fields that had nothing to do with appraisal. I ended up eventually leaving and starting an inspection company.

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